Tuesday 30 January 2018

The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft @elle_croft #TheGuiltyWife @orionbooks @Lauren_BooksPR


If you were being framed for murder, how far would you go to clear your name?
The debut psychological thriller that reads as Apple Tree Yard meets Behind Closed Doors, by way of Double Jeopardy.
I'm guilty of many things.
Bethany Reston is happily married. But she's also having an affair with a famous client.
And no one can ever know.
But I'm innocent of murder.
When Bethany's lover is brutally murdered, she has to hide her grief from everyone.
But someone knows her secret. And then one day the threats begin.
With an ever-growing pile of evidence pointing to her as the murderer, the only way she can protect her secrets is to prove her innocence. And that means tracking down a killer.
An incredibly taut, tense game of cat and mouse - with a twist you'll never see coming.

The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft  was published in paperback on 25 January 2018 by Orion Books and is the author's debut novel. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

The Guilty Wife is a really fast paced read, it's one of those books that you can pick up on a dark, miserable Sunday afternoon and totally immerse yourself in. That's what I did, by bedtime, I'd read it all, every single twisting turning page.

One of Elle Croft's real writing strengths is her ability to create totally unlikeable characters. I found very little of Bethany that I could either like or empathise with, yet she is quite beguiling to the reader. She's been happily married to Jason for a while, her photography studio is doing really well, yet she is seduced by her client Calum. He's very rich, and very handsome and their affair is illicit and fun and a bit dangerous.
Bethany agrees to take intimate photographs and presents these to Calum as a birthday gift. Later they argue when Calum makes it clear that he will never leave his wife for Bethany.

Tragedy strikes when Calum is murdered and although Bethany is distraught, she is unable to grieve publicly. She's the 'other woman', the guilty wife.

Somebody somewhere has other ideas though and it soon becomes clear that another person is well aware of just what was going on between Bethany and Calum before he died.

What follows is an intricate game of cat and mouse between Bethany; innocent of murder, but guilty of adultery and a character who clearly is the murderer. Elle Croft creates a fiendishly readable and quite frantic plot, filled with suspense and tension.

Elle Croft was born in South Africa, grew up in Australia and moved to the UK in 2010 after travelling around the world with her husband. 
She works as a freelance social media specialist and also blogs about travel, food and life in London. 
Her debut novel, The Guilty Wife, is a top 20 Kindle Bestseller.
Follow her on Twitter @elle_croft

Monday 29 January 2018

Close To Home By Cara Hunter @CaraHunterBooks #BlogTour @PoppyN @PenguinUKBooks #MyLifeInBooks

The RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB pick everyone is raving about, this pulse-pounding thriller about the search for a missing child is perfect for fans of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR.
'One of the best crime thrillers I have ever read' Kathryn Croft

Last night, eight-year-old Daisy Mason disappeared from a family party. No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything - or at least that's what they're saying.
DI Adam Fawley is trying to keep an open mind. But he knows the nine times out of ten, it's someone the victim knew.
That means someone is lying...
And that Daisy's time is running out.

Introducing DI Fawley and his team of Oxford detectives, and a Richard and Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2018, CLOSE TO HOME is the new crime thriller series to get addicted to.

Close To Home by Cara Hunter was published in paperback by Penguin on 14 December 2017, I am delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today as part of the Blog Tour. She's talking about the books that have inspired her and are special to her in My Life In Books

My Life in Books - Cara Hunter

I cannot imagine a life without books. Kindles are a fantastic invention, but they will never replace the unique physicality of a book that belongs only to you. The smell of it. The notes in the margin from your younger self. The faded price sticker on the back that reminds you exactly where and when it was bought.

We were between houses and renting a couple of years ago and had to put all our hundreds of books into storage. It was the strangest experience - living in a house with nothing on the shelves. I hadn’t realised how many times I returned to those books. Checking a reference for something, looking up a favourite passage, or just pulling off a comfort read. Suffice to say that bookshelves were one of the first things that went up in the new house.

As for choosing just ten books to sum up a life, I’m sure everyone Anne has spoken to for this slot has the same problem: how to stick to only ten. But I’m up for the challenge, so here goes…

No prizes for originality for my first choice, which is The Lord of the Rings. I read it at 12 and it was overwhelming. When you have that sort of experience at that age it really changes you – a book can shape how you see the world. What values you have and what you want to do with your life: it started me on a journey that ended with me reading English at Oxford. So this one will always come top of my list.

Number two is another book I loved as a child and the first that made me genuinely scared – Alan Garner’s The Owl Service. Such a simple but powerful idea and done with such a deft touch.

Next up is a book the whole world adores: Pride and Prejudice. I love Jane Austen, but I’ve chosen this one in particular because it was the first ‘literature’ we read at school. A wonderful introduction to the sheer beauty of well-written prose, and what barbs that elegant surface can conceal. No bad training for a crime writer….

The fourth book is not so well known: The God beneath The Sea by Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen. A superb re-telling of the Greek myths, ostensibly for children but resonant for adults as well. And fabulous illustrations too.

The next book is one I remember reading when it first came out: Midnight’s Children, by Salman Rushdie. It was totally unlike anything I’d read before - a sumptuous torrent of colours, textures, and images. I was in the middle of A levels and I should have been revising but I couldn’t put it down. But I did fine so who knows, perhaps it helped!

Another classic next – Middlemarch, by George Eliot. A wise and insightful writer and one of the most outstanding female novelists the English language has ever produced. The sheer scope and ambition of this book are immense, and like any truly great book, as you grow older with it you find something new at every read.

I seem to be doing ‘M’s at the moment, so here’s another: The Magus by John Fowles. One of the shabbiest paperbacks on my shelves, which is a pretty good indication of how often it gets read. Glorious, clever, intoxicating. Go read.

Some more recent favourites now, the first being Still Life by AS Byatt. It’s the second in her Frederica quartet, but I think by far the best. The writing is dense with thought, and superbly crafted. And it’s one of the very few works of fiction that has made the grown-up me cry.

A slightly unusual one next, perhaps, which is a book of poetry – Christopher Logue’s War Music, one of his series of translations of the Iliad. I’ve never come across any translation that captures the essence of ancient epic in such powerful and muscular contemporary poetry. I remember seeing the late great Alan Howard reading it in a one-man show at the Almeida in the 1980s and it was one of the best performances of anything I’ve ever seen.

And finally, I had to have a crime book – well, you expected that, didn’t you? But which one - a classic like Agatha Christie, or a modern master like Ian Rankin? A psychological thriller or a pure procedural? Safe to say this choice caused me the most angst, but I have finally plumped for The Memory Game, the first (and I think best) by Nicci French.

Cara Hunter - January 2018

Cara Hunter is a writer who lives in Oxford, in a street not unlike those featured in her series of crime books. 

Close to Home is her debut featuring DI Adam Fawley, and her second, In the Dark, is coming soon.

Follow her on Twitter @CaraHunterBooks

Thursday 25 January 2018

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood @SarahxHaywood @TwoRoadsBooks @alicefherbert #TheCactus

People aren't sure what to make of Susan Green - family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that's all she needs.
At 45, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward - a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.
Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control.
When she discovers that her mother's will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the most unlikely of places.
This sparkling debut is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch. In Susan we find a character as exasperating and delightful as The Rosie Project's Don Tillman. An uncompromising feminist and a fierce fighter, it's a joy to watch her bloom.

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood is published in hardback by Two Roads Books on 25th January 2018 and is the author's first novel. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

So, let's talk about that cover. It's absolutely sublime, and I have to admit that as soon as I opened up the envelope when it dropped through my letterbox, I bumped this one to the very top of the 'to be read' pile. See, I'm a cover tart, I have to admit it. There is nothing more likely to get me interested in a book than a beautifully produced cover, and especially a hardback cover. I was truly besotted.

The contents of the book certainly do not disappoint either. Yes, we can certainly judge this book by its cover. It is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out; perfectly written and paced, with a lead character who will bring out every emotion and feeling for the reader.

The Cactus is the story of Susan Green. At first, she doesn't seem particularly likeable and to be honest, I'd hate to sit next to her in the office, but gradually and slowly, this very talented and gifted author brings her to life. The reader is allowed glimpses from Susan's childhood, and early adulthood and these make it very clear that Susan really is a product of her upbringing.

One early reviewer likened Susan to the offspring of Don from the Rosie Project and Bridget Jones, and that really is the perfect description. However, I like Susan much more than I like either of those characters, scarily enough I found myself identifying with some of her thoughts and behaviours; I think we all have our little quirks and Susan and I have quite a few in common.

At the heart of the story is the fact that single Susan is forty-five and pregnant with her first child. Her mother has recently died and Susan is outraged to find that, according to the will, her brother Edward has the right to stay in the family home until he chooses to move. Susan deals with both of these matters in her organised and military fashion. A baby is just a small person who won't take up much room at all, and once she's prepared her case for the Court, she's bound to get her half of the money immediately, isn't she?  After all, Susan has gone through life so far in her own tenacious fashion so there's no reason that this won't work out perfectly for her.

What Susan doesn't consider is that huge changes that both pregnancy and bereavement will bring to her. Suddenly, she is experiencing emotions and feelings that are alien to her, and her journey to realisation about relationships is wondrous to experience.

Sarah Haywood has created one of the most wonderful characters that I've ever come across. She is perfectly formed, both interesting and irritating at times, but by the end of the story, I was totally and utterly in love with her.

The Cactus is a joyful, funny and very insightful story. Incredibly well written and wonderfully imagined. Effortlessly entertaining with captivating observations. This really was a joy to read.

Sarah Haywood was born in Birmingham. After studying Law, she worked in London and Birkenhead as a solicitor, in Toxteth as an advice worker, and in Manchester as an investigator of complaints about lawyers. 

She now lives in Liverpool with her husband and two sons.

Find out more at www.sarahhaywoodauthor.co.uk
Find her Author Page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @SarahxHaywood
Instagram @sarahjhaywood

No Ordinary Girl by Cheryl Elaine @CherylElaine15 #BlogBlitz @rararesources

What started out as a night of celebration for Aimee soon turned into a nightmare. Snatched by cruel, sadistic monsters - the worst creatures mankind has ever produced - she’s thrown into a metal container, among other victims too frightened to make a single sound.
The game-keepers force everyone to play. They deliver torment and pain in equal measure. Every hunter has their own agenda and reasons to maim and torture.
Detective Johnson is one step away from catching the killers. Wrestling with his instincts as a father to serve justice his own way, this is no ordinary case for him. Can he stop the vile sadists before they damage more young girls, as well as his own daughter?
Aimee’s ordeal within the compound brings her to the conclusion that she’s no ordinary girl. But can she hang onto her sanity long enough to escape? And will she find a different way to play?
This crime thriller will keep you riveted. It’s no ordinary story.
Please note: contains graphic content.

No Ordinary Girl by Cheryl Elaine was published in paperback and ebook in May 2017, my thanks to Rachel from Rachel's Random Resources who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

Please note the large print above; No Ordinary Girl really does contain graphic content, and lots of it. If you are easily offended by books that contain scenes of extreme torture, swearing and violent sex than this really is not the book for you.

I must admit that No Ordinary Girl is miles away from my usual sort of read and whilst I read a lot of crime fiction, there are details within this story that really turned my stomach. Fans of films such as Hostel and the Saw series will love it as it's brutal with nothing held back. My husband is a huge fan of horror films and when I go to the cinema with him, I usually end up watching the film from behind a hand held over my eyes; there were times during this story that I wanted to cover my eyes.

Despite my revulsion at some of the scenes, No Ordinary Girl is a gripping story and the author has created a cast of characters that the reader will despise, yet are cleverly constructed. Each has a back story that goes some way to explain their behaviours; some tragic, some resentful, some just evil.

Anyone who reads the newspapers or watches the TV News knows that our world contains some dreadful, destructive and downright rotten human beings. Those who prey on others, those who demand power and control and those who are prepared to do anything for money. No Ordinary Girl is set in that world, where innocent people are snatched from the street and kept as playthings for those who are depraved enough and are rich enough to carry out their most heinous of dreams.

This is a story that will shock the reader, yet I am sure that is the intent. It's a quick, if uncomfortable read and can be finished in a couple of sittings. Cheryl Elaine has a wild imagination that is transferred into the pages of this story.  Read it, but don't have nightmares!

Cheryl Elaine was born in Germany but moved to Northern Ireland as a young child. She then moved to Yorkshire where she spent most of her childhood and this is where she currently resides with her husband and 3 daughters.

Cheryl Elaine is an avid reader and enjoys watching horror movies - the more gruesome the better! She enjoys travelling and socialising but also loves spending time at home with her family and her ever expanding menagerie which currently includes 2 dogs, a budgie, 2 fish and a rat called Rocky!

Website – www.cherylelaine.co.uk 
Twitter - @CherylElaine15 
Insta - cherylelaine15

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Tunes On A Penny Whistle & Tuppenny Rice and Treacle by Doris E Coates #BlogTour @authoright

The early 1900s were a period of great hardship for many working-class families, particularly in rural areas. However, they were also times of pride and self-sufficiency, with fun and laughter derived from simple pleasures as well as mutual support and courage when poverty could have become unbearable.
This book is a personal history of a childhood in the village of Eyam – known as the Plague Village – in the Peak District of Derbyshire. Doris recalls how her mother confronted tough living conditions without labour-saving devices and often with little or no money.
She remembers, too, her father, who fought for the right for union representation, worked for self-help groups, and organised political meetings and village entertainments. He was a talented self-taught musician, producing a wide range of music on his Canadian organ and penny whistle. His fighting spirit made him a remarkable and influential character within the village community.
Both humourous and shocking, this description of domestic and community life at the beginning of the twentieth century is illustrated with many contemporary photographs, documents, and line drawings by George Coates, the author’s husband.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle  - A Derbyshire Childhood   and Tuppenny Rice and Treacle - Cottage Housekeeping 1900 to 1920, both by Doris E Coates were published on 23 January 2018 by The Harpsden Press.  My thanks to Rachel from Authoright who provided my copies for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

I have a real soft spot for memoirs and add the fact that Tunes on a Penny Whistle is set not far away from me, in the Peak District and I was really eager to review this book. I was not disappointed and have spent the past week or so, reading Doris E Coates' personal history of her childhood.

Eyam, in the Peak District, is known as the Plague Village; many stories and novels have been written about it, but this book tells all about the ordinary folk who lived there during the years of the First World War.

The Foreward is written by Doris' grandson Richard, and the book is introduced by Doris herself and was written in October 2017.

Doris Coates' story is warm and wonderfully well written. Her memories, told in her own voice make for a nostalgic read that I really enjoyed. I loved the description of village life, with the many shops and door to door deliveries. All so very different to our modern times, and although sometimes harsh and difficult, the sense of community and friendship shines through.

The book is split into sections including 'Making Ends Meet' and 'No Power to the Workers' and really is a detailed and intimate look at how people coped in rural communities a hundred years ago.

Throughout the book there are lots of excellent illustrations; original photographs, drawings, newspaper cuttings etc, and these perfectly complement the book.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle is a fascinating and illuminating insight, I enjoyed it very much.

Feeding a family on a limited budget is always a challenge. Yet even with a budget as low as ten shillings (50p) a week in the early part of the twentieth century, it is remarkable how interesting and varied the menu could be.
This delightful book draws on recipes compiled by Doris’s mother in Derbyshire and mother-in-law in Cumberland, and contains detailed records of weekly expenditure.
It includes numerous recipes for nutritious and filling meals for working men and growing families, taking full advantage of what was available - hearty meat dishes, with lots of root vegetables, puddings and dumplings to fill them out, cakes and buns, sweets and jams, and beverages to go with them (some highly alcoholic!). The recipes work just as well now as then.
It is also full of household and cleaning hints and products, illustrating immense pride in the home, as well as medicines, lotions and potions that would ‘kill or cure’.

After reading Doris' account of her childhood in Eyam, in Tunes on a Penny Whistle, I was delighted to find her Cottage Housekeeping Guide called Tuppenny Rice and Treacle (and yes, every time I see the title, I want to start singing .... half a pound of tuppenny rice, half a pound of treacle ....)

I have a bit of an obsession with cookery books and have a vast collection. I find it really de-stresses me to look through them and imagine what I'll cook next. I also have my own Grandmother's original Bero Cookbook, as well as her hand-written notebook that contains all of her recipes.

This is not just a recipe book though, it a Mrs Beeton style guide for the housewife of the early 1900s, and Doris talks about how to balance the books, gives expert remedies for cleaning and also tells us how to prepare natural medicines. It really is a fascinating look at times gone by, but there's also lots of useful hints and tips that can be used by the modern family.

Doris' grandson Richard gave me a couple of tips about which recipes I should try out, and I have to admit that I've not yet found the time to do this, but I've decided that my first attempt will be Baked Ginger Pudding as I love ginger and gingerbread was one of the first things that my Grandmother showed me how to cook.  Here's Doris' recipe:

Baked Ginger Pudding

6oz flour
4oz butter
4oz sugar
4oz preserved ginger
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
grated rind of 1 lemon

Beat together butter and sugar. Gradually beat in the eggs. Stir in flour, then rest of ingredients. Pour into a greased pie dish. Bake in a modern oven for three-quarters of an hour.

Born in Eyam in the Peak District of Derbyshire, Doris E. Coates achieved a successful and varied career as a teacher in both Derbyshire and later in Norfolk. Along with her husband George, she was an active member of her community promoting local groups, enjoyed singing in the local choir and, after retirement, turned her talents to writing. 
Her son, Richard Coates, now based in Bath enjoyed a happy childhood and grew up appreciating the importance of a strong education. After gaining a scholarship at Oxford University he went on to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Later as a management consultant he worked for international companies including Audi, British Airways and Mars in both the UK and oversees and continues to sit on the board of Davos Consultancy. Now retired, and in memory of his mother, Richard has decided to republish her books with fascinating new additions after researching further into his family history 

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Need To Know by Karen Cleveland #BlogTour #NeedToKnowBook @karecleve @TransworldBooks #Giveaway #Win

Vivian Miller is a CIA analyst assigned to uncover Russian sleeper cells in the USA. After accessing the computer of a potential Russian spy, she stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents living in her own country. Five seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

A few clicks later, everything that matters to Vivian is threatened - her job, her husband, even her four children . . .

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she's facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?

Will her next move be the right one?

Need To Know by Karen Cleveland is published in hardback by Transworld Books on 25 January 2018 and is the author's debut novel.
I read and reviewed Need To Know here on Random Things last month. I adored it! It's clever and thrilling and I highly recommend it.
Don't just take my word for it though, have a look at some of these:

‘You'll devour this terrific debut like the rest of us, skipping lunch, losing sleep, turning pages until the end.’ JOHN GRISHAM

‘Karen Cleveland is the real deal – an exciting new voice in thrillers.’ PATRICIA CORNWELL

‘If you liked The Couple Next Door, try Need To Know by Karen Cleveland . . . Thrillers don't get much more twisty and turny than this one. If you don't mind staying up reading til 3am, this is the one for you. BBC Arts and Entertainment ‘Books To Look Out For in 2018’

‘Prediction: if you read chapter one, you’ll read chapter two. If you read chapter two, you’ll miss dinner, stay up far too late, and feel tired at work tomorrow. This is that kind of book. Superb.’ LEE CHILD

‘Hold on tight! What a story, brilliantly told. A gripping espionage thriller with real psychological depth. More modern than tomorrow.’ TERRY HAYES

‘I raced through this gripping tale of domesticity and deceit. Cleveland deliciously ratchets up the tension at every turn . . . you won’t be able to put it down until the final, stunning page!’ SHARI LAPENA

‘Heart-poundingly suspenseful and heart-wrenchingly insightful, Need to Know hums with authentic detail, crisp storytelling, and characters that will long stay in your thoughts.’ J. P. DELANEY

‘An early contender for next year's Gone Girl.’ British GQ

‘Dramatic and gripping . . . a tense and original thriller.’ Literary Review

I have one hardback copy of Need To Know to giveaway to one reader of Random Things Through My Letterbox. Entry is simple, just leave me a comment on this blog post and tell me something that I really #NeedToKnow.
The giveaway will stay open for seven days when I will pick one winner, please let me know in your comments how I can contact you; email, Twitter, etc.
UK entries only please.        GOOD LUCK!

Please do check out the the other stops on the Blog Tour over the next week or so:

Karen Cleveland spent eight years as a CIA analyst, the last six in counterterrorism. 
She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and from Harvard University. 

She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two young kids.

Find out more at www.karen-cleveland.com
Find her Author page on Facebook

Monday 22 January 2018

Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald @LindaMac1 #AudioBook #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours

When Marianne comes home from work one day to find her husband talking to a glamorous woman in the kitchen, insecurities resurface from a time when she was bullied at school. Jealousy rears its head and her marriage begins to fall apart. Desperate for a solution, she finds herself trying to track down her first schoolgirl crush: Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.
Meeting Lydia is a book about childhood bullying, midlife crises, obsession, jealousy and the ever-growing trend of Internet relationships. It will appeal to fans of adult fiction and those interested in the dynamics and psychology of relationships. Author Linda is inspired by Margaret Atwood, Fay Weldon and David Lodge.

Meeting Lydia Audio Book by Linda MacDonald, narrated by Harriet Carmichael was released in the UK in November 2016.

I am delighted to welcome the author, Linda MacDonald back to Random Things today as part of the ten-day Blog Tour, she's written an article about 'Jealousy in Relationships'

Green-eyed Monster or Guardian Angel?
Jealousy in Relationships

‘Jealousy is one of the most significant factors in the break-up of relationships,’ says psychology teacher Marianne, in Meeting Lydia.

This being so, we shouldn’t treat it lightly. It’s not known as the Green Eyed Monster for nothing.
Jealousy is a complex emotion often accompanied by that sinking feeling in the gut and other symptoms of anxiety such as fear, anger, doubt, sorrow and even humiliation. Most of us have been there at some point in our lives. It is intense and destructive, taking over thoughts, disturbing sleep and causing irrational reactions. Some have described it as a kind of madness.

It may start early in life in the home – being jealous of a sibling. It may continue in primary school when you feel jealous that your best friend is spending time with someone else and you’re frightened of losing them. Later, it may invade romantic relationships, usually arising when one partner fears ‘mate poaching’. This is explained by insecurity which may stem from perceived inequality in what psychologists call ‘mate value’ – in other words, feeling less worthy than the partner, or a potential rival. Notice I said perceived. And when it comes to the object of the jealousy, very often it is perceived differences in attractiveness or youth (not unconnected) that are the most likely trigger, particularly for women.

Romantic jealousy can get out of hand leading to accusations and other suspicious behaviours which rather than solve the issue are more likely to drive the partner further way. Jealousy is not seen as an attractive trait and may lead to further rejection, loss of self-esteem and greater insecurity. And an imagined rival can be just as threatening as a real one. This is due to cognitive biases in the brain, erring on caution and seeing potential betrayal where none exists. Indeed, the internet age has led to a huge increase in jealousy as partners become concerned about mobile or email communications, even to the extent of checking a partner’s phone or laptop. This is not to be recommended as in addition to showing a lack of trust, it can only add to suspicions (perhaps unnecessarily) and make the jealousy worse. 
This issue is explored further in my guest post ‘Texting for Trouble’, hosted by Anne Williams. http://beinganne.com/2017/11/guestpost-linda-macdonald-author-of-meeting-lydia-on-texting-for-trouble-lindamac1/

Why are we Jealous?
If jealousy is so potentially destructive, why does it persist as an emotion? There may be sound evolutionary reasons. If jealousy is about insecurity and fears of losing the loved-one to someone else, then historically this would have mattered very much to women who were dependent on men to support the family. It is only relatively recently that women have had their own means of support. And men may be jealous because they want to be sure that it is their genes – and not those of an imposter – that are passed onto the children he is supporting.

This theory also helps to explain the different forms of jealousy between the sexes. While a sexual betrayal creates significant jealousy in both sexes, David Buss found males tend to be more upset by sexual infidelity and females by emotional infidelity: hence men are more jealous because of paternity issues, while women fear they are more likely to lose their man if he’s in love with someone else.

This makes jealousy understandable and even normal and natural. Buss says it is a deterrent against straying: if you’re not jealous, you may not protect your relationship from real threats. Looking at it from this point of view, jealousy serves to create boundaries in relationships and so functions as a guardian angel in keeping people together.

However, new thinking on romantic jealousy considers the possibility that the emotion may eventually die out as being irrelevant in a world where it is becoming commonplace to have more than one committed partnership during the lifetime. The growth and acceptability of meeting people online has made it much easier for both men and women to form new relationships in later life, so reducing the fear of being left alone if a relationship breaks down.

But evolution takes a long time to catch up with social trends and relationship jealousy is probably here to stay for the foreseeable future. A little bit of jealousy is good because it reminds us to protect our partnership. It’s only when jealousy becomes obsessive and accusatory that it creates serious division. Getting the balance right is the challenge. Relationships need to be nurtured – particularly in the long term when it is easy to become complacent. Boredom can make other options more tempting. It is therefore important for couples to make time for each other and to communicate often when apart. The sharing of each other’s inner worlds is the best antidote against jealousy.

Please do look out for the other posts on the Blog Tour over the next nine days

Linda MacDonald is the author of four novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. All Linda's books are contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues. 

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths', Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. The first two novels took ten years in writing and publishing, using snatched moments in the evenings, weekends and holidays. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing. 

Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham in Kent.

Follow her on Twitter @LindaMac1

About the Narrator: Harriet Carmichael
I've always loved doing voices. I grew up with Radio 4 being on constantly in the background.
Somehow the voices and accents broadcast over the years soaked in. And now I do voices. Or if you ask my agent, I'm a "voice artist".
For the last seven years I've spent most of my days in front of a microphone: as myself; as seven-year-old boys; talking baboons; angsty teenagers (usually American); androgynous talking cats; Glaswegian Grannies; the cast of The Archers... After university I trained at The Oxford School of Drama and then acted mainly with touring theatre companies - some brilliant, some not so... I had a lot of fun, but once I started doing voiceovers in warm studios with good coffee, being on the road lost some of its appeal. And the voice can do much more than people think. Tone, timing, pitch and accent can all vary depending on the job. From commercials and corporates to cartoons, computer games and audiobooks, it's a brilliant job and, really, I owe it all to Radio 4.

Follow her on Twitter @Harrietcar

Friday 19 January 2018

An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato @LodatoElisa @wnbooks @JenKerslake

When Katharine is found dead at the foot of her stairs, it is the mystery of her life that consumes her daughter, Laura.
The medical examiner's report, in which precious parts of Katharine's body are weighed and categorised, motivates Laura to write her own version of events; to bear witness to the unbearable blank space between each itemised entry.
It forces her to confront a new version of the woman she knew only as her mother - a woman silenced by her own mother, and wronged by her husband. A woman who felt shackled by tradition and unable to love freely.
With the heart of a memoir and the pace of a thriller, An Unremarkable Body reveals an overwhelming desire to make sense of an unfulfilled life - and to prove that an unremarkable body does not mean an unremarkable life.

An Unremarkable Body by Elisa Lodato was published  by W&N on 14 December 2017 and is the author's debut novel. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

How is it possible, that just over two weeks into 2018, I have discovered so many wonderful books, and fabulous new authors? An Unremarkable Body is one of those, and I am positive that this one is going to have a place on my top books of the year list at the end of 2018.

Laura's mother Katharine, is dead. Laura discovered her at the foot of the stairs, it was a shock that she is finding very difficult to deal with, and when she receives the medical examiner's report with the most personal of details of her mother's body, she finds herself examining her relationship with her mother.

An Unremarkable Body is cleverly and neatly structured; each chapter begins with a few lines from the medical report, and from these, Laura creates her own history. Whilst the medical examiner considers Katharine's body to be unremarkable, Laura knows that every single mark and scar bears witness to what really was a remarkable life, and without doubt, a remarkable woman. From the small scar on the back of her neck, to the fractured ulna; each and every one allows Laura to remember.

This is a beautifully written novel which has mystery running through it, yet it is so much more than that. It is a poignant, emotionally challenging and at times, quite heartbreaking story of a woman who was held back by life and circumstances, but whose impact is felt by many.

Elisa Lodato's characterisation is quite wonderfully done, both Laura and Katharine are exposed, their inner thoughts and fears laid bare for the reader, their uneasy and difficult relationships are examined and explained, it really is an evocative and very compulsive read.

An Unremarkable Body is warm, compassionate and quite brilliant. I was entranced by both the story and by the alluring writing.  Highly recommended, and I look forward to reading more from this extraordinarily talented author.

Elisa grew up in London and read English at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

After graduating she went to live in Japan where she developed a love of cherry blossom and tempura. On returning to the UK she spent many happy years working for Google before training to become an English teacher. Helping pupils to search for meaning in a text inspired Elisa to take up the pen and write her own. Her first novel, An Unremarkable Body, was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2016 and was published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in 2017.

Elisa lives in Surrey with her husband and two children. 

Follow her on Twitter @LodatoElisa